Octoberish

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies0 Comments

We’re well into the second week of November, it’s a dreary day here in Vancouver, and I’m supposed to be getting ready for a trip to Sweden so now seems like a perfect time to post a quick October update. The big writing news was the release of Serial Killer Z (finally). I was about to write a long piece about the launch strategy for the series, but then I realised this is supposed to be short so I’ll save that for another day. I’ll just say that I went with a soft-ish launch (a limp launch?) for the first book. I told my newsletter subscribers over the course of a few days, and posted here on the blog and social media, experimented with some ads, but that was it. No big promos, no concerted marketing. That will come later, when book three is released in a couple of weeks. But even without any real marketing the book has been doing pretty well. People seem to like it and it’s already at the number four slot in my personal sales chart. That bodes well for the future. The launch took up a good chunk of my free time in October, … Read More

September in October

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies0 Comments

Wow, it’s almost the middle of October and I haven’t posted an update. I’m going to blame the fact I was at a writing retreat in Colorado at the end of September. And my book release, yes, that too. The Colorado trip was excellent. Great company, some drinking, good food, good conversation and a big chunk of writing. And this guy: Apart from the writing retreat, it was a pretty light month – 12,412 words in total. Most of my time was spent revising the third zombie book. It’s now going through a second pass with my editor and should be wrapped up pretty quickly. Now I’m working on what was supposed to be a prequel novella for my next series. However, I’m already 17,000 words in which should be around the halfway point. It’s more like a quarter of the way through the story. I may have to rethink this plan. I’m really enjoying writing it though, it’s got the same sort of geeky humour I sprinkled throughout Unseen Planet which makes it a lot of fun to write (and hopefully read). My September reading was mostly dominated by one book – Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon and I still … Read More

April Update

Philip HarrisChatter, Metrics, Writing0 Comments

I remember a time when I used to post here pretty much every day. Good times. Talking of good times, the last couple of months have been less than stellar – too much sorrow, too much frustration. Hopefully May will be better, I’ve certainly got plans for it to be better. We’ll see how those work out. I did manage to keep up my writing streak though, although after March’s record breaking word count, April’s was a more typical 17,205 words split between a couple of projects. The bulk of my time was spent on the sequel to The Girl in the City – The Girl in the Wilderness. My original plan was the book would be a novella – about 25,000 words. I reached 42,000 words by the end of April with at least 10,000 to go which puts it well into short novel territory. Given that the point of writing this particular book was for a quick break between the full length zombie books I’ve kind of screwed things up. Never mind, it’s a good story. Apart from The Girl in the Wilderness, I put the finishing touches on a new short story and sent it off to the editor. It’s for a fantastic anthology so hopefully he’ll like it. More on that another … Read More

What I did on my Holiday – Part One

Philip HarrisChatter0 Comments

On Tuesday night, we arrived back in Vancouver after an action-packed 10 day trip to the UK. It had been close to five years since I’d been back so most of that time was spent catching up with family and it was great to see everyone again. Some people have changed a lot (one didn’t even exist last time I was there) and other people are just the same. I also made a couple of trips to my favourite comic shop – Comic Connections – to catch up with some friends (and reacquaint myself with Strongbow), and spent a bit of time wandering around the town. A few things have changed (the baked potato guy outside McDonalds wasn’t there and a few of the shops are different) but otherwise, my home town has stayed pretty much how it was last time I was there. We also ate some fantastic food. I can highly recommend The Three Pigeons. We had a Christmas lunch there and the food was delicious. The Three Pigeons was my “local” when I was younger, and my wife and I spent many an evening there when we first met so going back was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I can also recommend … Read More

Happy Birthday, Clive Barker

Philip HarrisAuthors, Books0 Comments

I first encountered Clive Barker’s writing when I read Cabal. It was the second horror novel I’d read, the first being Barbara Hambly’s Immortal Blood (known as Those Who Hunt the Night outside of the UK). I was blown away – it was just such a cool story. I still have my original copy of that book (along with three other versions). I followed up Cabal with The Damnation Game and Weaveworld and I’ve been reading and rereading his books ever since. Imajica is still one of my favourite novels and I reread Cabal this year and really enjoyed it – it’s aged surprisingly well. His films have also been a big part of my life. My wife introduced me to Hellraiser (a fact I still find extremely amusing and which went a long way towards convincing me she was someone I could spend the rest of my life with) and it immediately became one of my favourite films. I have multiple copies on DVD and VHS (yes, VHS), including a copy signed by Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley. I have all the Hellraiser sequels on DVD, even the terrible ones and the Hellraiser/Prophecy crossover fan film – Hellraiser: Prophecy. I love Lord of Illusions and although the movie adaptation of Cabal, Nightbreed, isn’t as good as the source material, I still have … Read More

Hanging with the Bone Boy

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Stories, Writing0 Comments

My love of horror started somewhere around 1989 with two books – Immortal Blood by Barbara Hambly (published as Those Who Hunt the Night outside of the UK) and Clive Barker’s Cabal. It was around the same time that my eventually-to-be-wife introduced me to horror films in the form of Hellraiser and I was hooked. I never really got into the hardcore horror scene but we’ve watched a lot of horror films over the years. So, when I started writing in 1992 (ouch), it was inevitable that I’d start with horror stories. The first, Almost Alone (currently unpublished and sitting in my “trunk” folder) was set in a hospital room with a malevolent creature living in the ceiling. I’m planning on revisiting the idea at some point. Since those early stories, I’ve dabbled in science fiction and fantasy but over half the stories I’ve written have been some form of horror tale. It’s been a couple of years since I wrote a full length horror story though, so getting back to horror with The Bone Boy has been fun – I’ve really been able to stretch my writing legs. I wrapped up the closing scene yesterday and at roughly 1,400 words it was … Read More

Look Who’s Evil Now

Philip HarrisChatter, Movies0 Comments

My wife introduced me to horror films one afternoon when she suggested we rent out Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. That film has since become one of my favourites and even now, <cough> years later, we’re still drawn to horror films. So, it was inevitable that we’d go to see the Evil Dead remake. And by that I mean this one: Not this one: Let’s get something straight right from the start. There are no plot surprises in this film. This is the type of horror film that The Cabin in the Woods skewered so beautifully. There was some attempt at a credible explanation for why our protagonists don’t run from the cabin (which given the amount of rain in this film is located somewhere near Vancouver) at the first sign of trouble but beyond that you get all the requisite plot holes and dumb decisions you would expect. But that’s not why people watch Evil Dead and the remake has updated the story without losing the flavour of the original. Which makes it a very gory film. Very. Despite being labelled on the Cineplex website as a “thriller” this is not a watered down PG-13 teen-horror. This is a full on, in your … Read More

Free Fiction – Stains

Philip HarrisFree Fiction0 Comments

Not a lot happening on the writing front at the moment, I’ve been distracted by work and the new XCom game, but I did dust off my word processor to create an entry for Odyssey II – a crowdsourced story that’s being created on deviantART. It’s an interesting project – a nine “chapter” story created one chapter at a time with none other than Clive Barker providing the prologue to get things started. The constraints are pretty tight – there’s less than five days to get each chapter submitted and a 400-ish word limit – but it seemed like a fun way to get the creative juices flowing so I decided to give it a whirl. My first piece didn’t get picked so I decided that I’d cross-post it here. You’ll need to read the prologue to get the context – it’s on deviantART – but basically our hero, Paul, has ended up with a splash of vomit on his trousers after encountering someone having some sort of fit on the London Underground. Stains Twenty minutes in the shower, soaping and scrubbing and rinsing, and still Paul’s imagination wouldn’t let go of that damn vomit. He could feel it relentlessly seeping into … Read More

On Caitlin R Kiernan

Philip HarrisAuthors, Books0 Comments

Caitlin R Kiernan is one of a handful of authors whose books I always buy but never give away (Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto being some of the others). She’s one of an even smaller number of authors whose books immediately jump to the top of my reading pile whenever they’re published. She’s also an author who makes me want to give up writing – I know I’ll never get close to her imagination or the sheer beauty of her writing so why bother? I’ve been reading Caitlin’s books for a long time. I can’t remember when I discovered her first novel, Silk (published in 1998), but I think it was through her association with Poppy Z Brite – another author whose work I love – and I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s written some fantastic books, Murder of Angels (the sequel to Silk) and Daughter of Hounds are probably my favourites, and so far I’ve not been able to find many other weird fiction authors that are so consistently good. Her novels and stories tend to be dark, particularly her short fiction, so if you’re the type of person who likes nice, neat Hollywood endings tied up with a … Read More

Forward on Backwards

Philip HarrisMovies, Stories, Television0 Comments

Ethel the Muse was working overtime on Saturday morning and by the time I got up I had a fully formed idea for a new story – Backwards Boy. The first half was written on Saturday but by Sunday morning I hated it so I ended up rewriting a lot of it. It’s pretty short – 986 words – and it’s also difficult to categorise. In a lot of ways it’s not really speculative fiction at all. But it might be, it depends on what happens after the story ends. Unfortunately, that means it will be a tricky story to place but we’ll see how it goes. Of course, it needs to sit in my unfinished folder and age for a couple of weeks before I edit it and start submitting. The addition of Backwards Boy means I have five stories waiting for me to edit them. Can you tell I’m not a fan of editing? My goal is to get all five finished and out into the wild by the end of the year. Other than a couple of hours of writing, the weekend was filled with day job and trips out and television. Specifically we caught up with the … Read More